Skopje can look back at a history of more than 2,000 years where many roads and cultures have met. Despite several major earthquakes, the city contains important sites from Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods. A disastrous earthquake hit and devastated the city in 1963, which was then rebuilt. Today, Skopje is a modern city combining contemporary architecture with a well-preserved and restored old town.
Many people travel through the city centre when going to work (22.3%) and returning home (47.2%). The primary modes of transport are public transport with a modal share of 34 percent, walking with 33.5 percent and private vehicles with 28.4 percent. However, the public transport provider has seen a decline from 150 million passengers in 1989 to just 45 million in 2006. Overall, the state of the public transport system in Skopje is outdated. The public transport fleet is ageing and passengers are left without timely and accurate information services and inconvenient ticketing systems.
In the light of the current transport situation, Macedonia’s capital has joined CIVITAS RENAISSANCE to benefit from the know-how and best practice of other CIVITAS cities. Skopje is working on a strategy for the development of a sustainable urban transport system with a particular focus on the development of public transport. The quality of the service will be improved through real-time passenger information, and smart ticketing solutions based on an integrated fare system for all public transport services. The public transport fleet will be renewed and converted from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) and electric vehicles to reduce pollution. Additionally, light rail transit will be introduced for a faster and more sustainable service with greater capacity.